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Thu Apr 10 16:58:53 CEST 2008

Poland scuppers EU software patent directive

By Lucy Sherriff
Published Thursday 18th November 2004 16:18 GMT

The Polish government has withdrawn its support for the European software
patent directive. At a cabinet meeting in Warsaw yesterday, officials
concluded that the directive does not meet its original objective of
limiting patents on software and business methods in Europe.

According to a statement from the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure), without Polish support the bill is 16 votes short of a
qualified majority, and cannot be passed. This is due, in part, to the new
voting weights allocated to each member state.

The decision was welcomed by the Polish Green Party. Magda Mosiewicz,
co-chairman of the Polish Greens, said: "I hope other countries will quickly
adopt Poland's stance and refuse to vote on the text unless it contains
clear limits to the patentability of software and business methods."

The cabinet explained that at a meeting on 5 November, representatives of
the software industry and several patent lawyers agreed that the current
format does make all software potentially patentable. It added that it would
offer its support to a directive that was unambiguous, but not one that
allowed the basic functions of a computer programme to be patented.

Jan Macek of FFII Poland said that the decision provided a second
opportunity for other countries, such as Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark and
Italy, to propose amendments to the Directive.

"The questionable compromise that the EU Council reached in May was the
biggest threat ever to our economic growth, and to our freedom of
communication," said Wladyslaw Majewski, president of the Internet Society
of Poland. "The desire of the patent system and the patent departments of
certain large corporations must never prevail over the interests of the
economy and society at large."

The full statement of the Polish cabinet is available here, in Polish:

Robert Horvitz
Open Spectrum International
Slavikova 11
120 00 Prague 2
Czech Republic
tel +420 222726807
mob +420 775024705
fax +420 222725688
email horvitz at

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